Super Bowl 2015: The Big Takeaway for Advertisers
As most marketers would agree, part of the thrill behind Super Bowl Sunday lies in watching the commercials featured throughout the big game. Leading up to the day-of, there’s often buzz around which spots will be the most controversial, which the most heart-wrenching, and which ones that, perhaps, should have been a little more thought out.
A theme this year seemed to be those spots that never even made it to the big day. From GoDaddy to CURE Auto Insurance, certain commercials were given the boot by NBC before making it to Super Bowl Sunday. One that hit particularly close to home was CURE Auto Insurance’s “Blue Balls” commercial - pulled only days before the Super Bowl. NBC executives weren’t feeling the joke and felt that the content of the ad simply didn’t meet the network’s standards. Sure, CURE should have known better...as they seemed to have only a few years earlier.
The “Blue Balls” concept was one of a dozen concepts we came up with for CURE - the campaign was to be used on everything from billboards to social. We thought the idea was brilliant - what’s not clever about seeing foam Blue Balls everywhere and associating CURE with them? As it turned out, the leadership over at CURE seemed to think this was a sensitive subject that shouldn’t be brought to market - and yet, years later, they clearly felt it was worth resurfacing.
So, what’s the lesson here? When it comes to agency life, often it’s go big, or go home. When we had pitched this idea, we understood the risks but also understand the rewards that could easily come along with it. The think tanks, late nights, and overall effort we put into this campaign eventually became permanently filed under a creative “Duh”. And yet, CURE decided to resurface the idea years later - only with the same result.
On the flip side, you see brands like Nationwide Insurance and Mountain Dew each creating ads that pushed the envelope and essentially did what most Super Bowl ads aim to do - get people talking. Part of the fun of the agency rush is getting to push the limits of creativity and what is deemed “socially acceptable”. Along with that, comes both risks and rewards - or the lack thereof. The Super Bowl is also about that big chance to run an ad that gets people talking. So, next time you have a shot at the big game - take that creative leap of faith with your next play and take a swing at being the talk of the town (or the watercooler) the next day.